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What makes economics so difficult to learn?

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Message Ludwik Kowalski
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Why is it so hard to understand macroeconomics?

I see two reasons for this: Those untrained in economics are likely to be confused by its terminology, and by the fact that common words often acquire very precise, but unfamiliar, meanings. Furthermore, laymen are likely to be unfamiliar with the environments and institutions in which basic economic decisions are made.

I suppose that students majoring in economics acquire practical experience by spending some time in business firms, banks, stock market firms, government decision-making agencies, etc. This is probably built into their academic curricula. But a layman, like myself, usually does not have such exposure. My economic experience is limited to salaries, paying for goods and services, taxes, and minimum banking (saving accounts, credit cards, mortgages, etc.). Most people I know are in similar situations.

How can one compensate for this limited exposure? I suppose that some novels do describe the workings of the business world. Such books, however, were not written to educate us. It occurred to me that writers familiar with typical economic environments could help us by describing daily lives of typical business people, in articles, books, or even fictional form.

Technical terms would be introduced gradually and their meaning explained in hypothetical situations. Motivations driving these people, dilemmas they face at work, and examples of successful, or unsuccessful, strategies could be invented. I am thinking about authors who are economists, or who cooperate with economists. What do you think about this suggestion?

Economics is a very important subject. Unfortunately, most people are not familiar with it, even politicians who often talk about economy. What else can be done to improve the situation?


Let me share a diagram which describes our overall economic system. The dash arrow, labeled rds, refers to the so-called "safety net"--redistribution of wealth by our government. Let us hope that activities in this area will intensify under the new administration, in order to minimize the devastating effects of our current recession.

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Ludwik Kowalski is a retired physics teacher (Professor emeritus, Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA). He is the author of two recently-published FREE books:

1) "Hell on Earth: Brutality and violence under the Stalinist regime" (more...)

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